Chainsaw Safety Tips for the Lads

Spend an hour with us and save a life or limb. Here are the lads top 10 tips for you.

Tip 1. It’s we one we hate, lads, but it’s necessary. RTFM! (Read the… Friendly… Manual, sure – ‘friendly’ sounds good right there.) Look, all the saws are different, even when they have things in common. Just knuckle down and read. It’s honestly not that painful.

Tip 2. Take a chainsaw safety course. Yeah it sounds horrible, but you can do it from your own computer in about an hour. You’ll cover:

  • Chainsaw components and safety features
  • Types of chainsaws
  • Physical and site preparation for chainsaw use
  • Safety requirements for chainsaw use, including PPE
  • Hazard assessment, identification, and control
  • Pre-operational inspections and function checks
  • Chainsaw start-up methods
  • Cutting techniques and best practices
  • Post-operational maintenance and inspection
  • Chain filing

The course is certified, so it’s good for professionals too. As someone once said – Just do it.

Tip 3. Close to our hearts as First Aid & Safety Instructors… keep a First Aid kit close by. Sure, we know when you’ve got the saw nothing will ever go wrong. But when it does, you’ll be glad you had your kit close by. You know tourniquets are back in style, right?

Tip 4. Use protection, boys.

  • Hearing Protection
  • Goggles
  • Boots
  • Hard hat
  • Chaps
  • Gloves

Tip 5. Know your limits. OK, we all know we have no limits and we’re God’s gift to women and saws… but actually, sometimes it’s just better to let the professionals do it. If the job is way beyond anything you’ve ever attempted, let someone else do it. Hey, you needed more beer drinking time, right?

Tip 6. Bring your drinking buddies. First, ask them to come round and bring beer. Do not miss this step. Then, remember you should never cut alone. If you’re up the brown creek without a paddle, you’ll need someone to call for help on your behalf.

Tip 7. Inspect your equipment. It needs to be functioning well and ready for service. Blades should be sharp, chains should be tight and things that need to move smoothly should be well lubricated.

Tip 8. Mind your tip. The tip of the saw isn’t for cutting branches and trunks – you’ll get kick-back and that way lies serious injury. Cut properly with the saw blade.

Tip 9. Mind your head. Don’t saw above eye level, lads. They call those falling branches ‘Widow Makers’ with good reason. Don’t leave the ladies single and sad.

Tip 10. Only fuel when it’s cool. You know what happens if you mix gas/petrol and a hot tool? Bad things. Bad things happen. Don’t do that.

OK, now taking the tongue out of the cheek for a moment, get serious about your safety. Read the f* manual, take a course, get safety equipment, do what it takes to keep yourself alive and in once piece. Not all scars look good, you know.

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Preventing Anaphylaxis in Children

To reduce the risk of food allergy & anaphylaxis, parents have often been told to avoid giving children specific foods at an early age. But is this the right approach? Probably not.

What’s the problem?

Food allergy among children is common, affecting up to 2 out of every 25 kids (8%) younger than 3 years of age. Allergies can be serious or fatal, and anaphylaxis in children seems to be increasing. To reduce the risk, parents have often been told not to give their children foods such as peanut, egg, dairy, etc. at an early age and many schools impose “no sharing” policies.

Reducing Peanut AllergiesPeanuts are the biggest cause of choking

A year ago, doctors did a trial to assess if this avoidance was a good idea. Specifically, they did it with peanuts. They found out that children eating peanut products from an early age were much, much less likely to have allergic reactions. The trial was so convincing that doctors now suggest introducing peanut products before 6 months of age, especially in high risk children.

Reducing Other Food Allergies

OK, so much for peanuts, that’s only one of many foods which can cause problems. What about all those other things – wheat, dairy, egg, etc. Well, the peanut trial was so convincing that another one had to be done. Children between three and six months of age were to be fed 3 rounded teaspoons of smooth peanut butter, one small egg, two portions (40 to 60 g) of cow’s milk yogurt, 3 teaspoons of sesame paste, 25 g of white fish, and two wheat-based cereal biscuits every week. They were compared to babies who just breast-fed at that age. The kids were checked regularly up to the age of three.

So did this reduce food allergies?

Hard to say. Out of every 5 families who tried to do this, only 2 managed. Maybe because it’s challenging to feed a 3 month old all that food. Maybe baby couldn’t eat it. Whatever the reason, that’s not good enough for doctors to say for sure that you should be doing this. But…. In the ‘normal’ families who were breast feeding, about 2 in every 25 kids developed an allergy. Exactly what you’d expect. In the families who managed to feed their kids all the other foods, only 1 in 50 kids developed an allergy. Much lower than would be expected.

Epi-Pen Adult and Epi_pen Jr.

Epi-Pen adult and Junior. “Blue to the sky, orange to the thigh!”

What can I do?

That’s up to you as a parent. It seems like giving kids food early on is a good idea and reduces allergies, but that’s not for sure yet. If you do, take care. At 3-6 months old, they’re not yet very good at chewing. Don’t let them choke on foods to try and reduce allergies! As usual, a balanced approach seems best. If you want to introduce these foods at an early age, be sure to prepare them in ways which are safe for your child. And as always, make sure you have the training to know how to recognise and deal with serious allergies.

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The Dirty Secret about CPR in the Hospital (That Doctors Desperately Want You to Know)

Long, but well worth reading

K.V. Scruggs

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A few things have changed in medicine over the last few decades. Okay, a lot has changed, and most of it good. But along with the improvements in patient care there has been an exponential increase in expectations. We’ve somehow gone from “your loved one has a life threatening illness and we will do what we can to treat it and in the meantime ensure they don’t suffer” to “your loved one has a life threatening illness that we have the capacity to cure, and if we don’t we will have done something wrong.”

The problem is, last I checked, everyone dies. Let me say that again for good measure. Everyone. Dies. The problem is not with that truth alone, but with the fact that patients with terminal illnesses – and their caregivers – rarely understand their mortality. And when patients and families have unrealistic expectations about what their doctors…

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Lawnmowers and Kids don’t mix

Seriously. Find the little people a different job to do for you. Recent (US) research has found about 16 mower-related accidents per state, per year. Most of them (unsurprisingly) in the warm months from April to September. About ¾ of them could have been prevented. If you have (or care for) kids you’ll know they are easily distracted – which can have serious consequences if they’re trying to use a mower at that moment. More than half the reported injuries needed an amputation.

 

Lawnmower Injuries? How?Lawnmower Races

The mower blade often doesn’t seem that sharp, but think about the speed of it traveling. The very tip of a rotating blade is moving faster than a speeding bullet – literally. Which makes “the injuries we see not just lacerations, they’re more like an explosion or blast injury” says Dr Armstrong, the researcher. About half the injuries come from ride-on and half from push mowers. 8 out of 10 happen to boys.

Lawnmower Injury Prevention

There are in fact guidelines to prevent lawnmower injuries in children, which have been around since 2001:

  • No kids under 12 should use a push mower
  • No kids under 16 should use a ride on mower
  • Kids under 6 should be indoors at all times a mower is in use

“children should not operate lawn mowers until they have displayed appropriate levels of judgment, strength, coordination, and maturity necessary for their safe operation.”

Lawnmower Injury Treatment

We are all about first aid after all, so what would you do for a kid with a lawnmower injury? Here are our guidelines – depending on the severity of the injury, of course.

1. Turn off the mower (If you didn’t know “Check for safety” comes first, slap yourself all the way back to the classroom and get some training). Secure it so no one else can come and turn it back on accidentally!

2. Comfort the child. Position appropriately, which may be lying down, depending on blood loss and how faint they feel.

3. Assess the need to call an ambulance – do so if necessary.

3. Apply pressure to stop the bleeding. Don’t apply pressure to any broken bones or if it causes undue pain, but you need to stop the blood flow.

4. Bandage appropriately. If there are broken bones, this may involve stabilising the injury.

5. If there is an amputated body part, wrap it in a sterile dressing, then a towel, then a plastic bag and then ice. (See your book for full details, or remember what we did in class.)

6. Off to hospital, clinic, or further care as appropriate.

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